Keith Lyn happy to be home

Published: Sunday | October 11, 2009

Ska has endured for more than half a century and is popular with children of all ages.- photo by Anthony Minott

Keith Lyn migrated to the United States (US) in 1978 after leaving Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, living in Florida until he returned to Jamaica four years ago. But he never stopped calling Jamaica home.

"I never felt at home there. I felt at home here," Lyn said. The screensaver on his computer said 'Jamaica is on my mind'.

He kept active in music, but with a smaller unit than before. "I set up a one-man band. I did a lot of work with the Jamaica Tourist Board and the American Society of Travel Agents, so I got to travel all over the world," Lyn said.

"I have taken it all over the world. Apart from BL&D (Byron Lee and the Dragonaires) I have travelled all over the world. The last place I went to was Turkey. Mash up the place. The one Jamaican. They had a Caribbean night. You had groups from Colombia, Mexico, one Jamaican man mash it up," Lyn said. "I been to China, Hungary, Iceland - twice. He faced his biggest audience in the Caribbean, though. "Trinidad is the place I appeared before the biggest crowd I ever played for, something like 40-something thousand people. People were in the trees and all that, at the Savannah," Lyn said.

It has been a long road for Lyn, who says, "I remember on my first night with BL&D I had to sing the last song of the night, Now is the Hour. Plus, "they used to pass remarks: 'Little man like you have such a big voice! We see you up there and you look big, then you come down here'. I say 'I'm a small man'. The other thing is "we never know Chiney man like you could sing so!"

He lays claim to a certain soca characteristic, saying "even things you hear now when you go to a soca session, 'hands up', 'hands in the air', I started that".

Now Lyn performs regularly at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel (every other Sunday) and also does a lot of private functions. He has long days - last Sunday he was up from 4:30 a.m., did an all-day session and then headed over to the Chinese Benevolent Association to perform there.

variety set

Lyn has three CDs in the works (a variety set, plus Christmas and gospel full-length CDs), Fab Five's Grub Cooper slated to be a part of those projects, and hopes to have one out for Christmas.

He smiles as he remembers the banners in Belize reading 'Welcome Keith Lyn' that greeted BL&D when they performed there and says he virtually owned the entire top 10 there at one point. Up to now his popular songs there, including Empty Chair and Portrait of My Love, are played on radio, especially on Sundays.

Having been all over and lived abroad, Keith Lyn is very happy to be back in Jamaica.

"Now, I do not wish to go anywhere. This is it," Lyn said.

- M.C.

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